Lex Friedman, writing for Macworld:
If you have $25 to spend, you’re about to free up a lot of storage space on your iOS devices. On Monday, Apple officially released iTunes Match to the masses, with an update to iTunes for Mac and PC. The company missed its initial deadline of a late October release, but a note to developers last week indicated the feature’s launch was imminent. iTunes Match, part of the iCloud suite that launched earlier month, stores the entirety of your music library in the cloud, at a cost of $25 per year. Unlike competing cloud storage music services from Amazon and Google, iTunes Match saves a lot of bandwidth and time in your initial synchronization, because Apple can identify which songs in your iTunes library are already available in the iTunes Store. If Apple can positively match a song in your library with any of the 20 million tracks for sale in the iTunes Store, it won’t bother uploading that song; only unmatched songs get uploaded to the cloud. Once iTunes Match is finished indexing your library, you can connect to your music from other computers, along with your iOS devices. Any matched music you stream from iCloud plays back at 256-Kbps quality—even if your original copy was encoded at a lower quality. As an Apple Developer, I've had access to and have been using iTunes Match for about 3 months now. There were some bugs early on that were duplicating my playlists - but it looks as if they've fixed those. I haven't seen any problems like that for weeks now. Still though, with the sometimes shaky stability that iCloud has had so far, I wouldn't be surprised if the initial rush of users doesn't create problems of some type for the short term. Long term though, I see this service as being a winner. You need to download the new version of iTunes in order to use iTunes Match. I recommend you do so.